I don’t even need to really get Judy on board, I know she’s just bored. With this episode in our lives, and everything. I can barely pick up on her little voice out in the hallway so sweetly chastising those children back to bed. Lord knows if it was the ringleader, or all of them, in cahoots again. God those are scary times. They put the boy out on a mattress they found by Lake Murray. I caught them riding an exposed septic field on the upturned roof of the dog house. And the oldest boy and the middle girl set the back wood on fire and denied it even to the faces of the firemen. Confessed in just disgusting, snotty tears that night. It was awful. All the worst definitions of pathetic. Judy has the patience of a person who grew up a smart mean child. The really alluring way a witch woos a princess. A worm doesn’t stop being a worm just because there’s a fishhook in her.
Relationships are hard. Dense. Difficult to understand well enough to apply to purpose. Like a finely made, ornate, intricately sharpened tool, too heavy to pick up.
The struggle is focused on shaping. Changing. Cutting away extraneous pieces. Hammering a blade thinner, asleep in coals until red hot, then whole steel chunks are removed.
These are aspects of ourselves. The sacrifices we make constantly in order to cohabitate. These concessions are not restricted to human interactions. They are necessary for sustainable communication with livestock like chickens, goats, pets like cats, dogs, down to their pests, fleas and ticks. Whether we like it or not, they must be considered.
The relationship could be the bloodsucking parasite attached to the host.
A story that reads lustful, consumptive love, and inevitable discovery.
In most situations, it entails me holding fire to the creature and watching it cringe and swell and pop. It is not easy to think this way all the time. But I have found it to be necessary. And rewarding.
Consider that it is still relationship when one party attacks, damages or ends the other one. Sometimes it can be easy to slip into the assumption humans hold the patent on choices, but symbiosis, parasitism, neighborliness, taking advantage, are inherited concepts. They belonged first and far most to the world.
I kill what sought to drain me. I do not feel good or bad about it. I just consider it.
Like the flock of birds I care for daily, weekly, at this point yearly, spilled pails into trays and automatic waterers, feeding bags and bags of feed my money buys, trade my time to fill these bird’s stomachs. Then we go there.
One unsuspecting morning, the towers who care for chickens come and isolate one or two in a box. Ending lives. Taking a look into their craws, opening up their stomachs.
I don’t imagine or assume where my time went. I know.
That is a relationship. A bastard child of predator and prey. We call it farming.
And it can be disturbing, like most things, hard to understand.
But it may provide a starting point for tilling the dense mindset of Man.
This tool we find grasped in our species hands. Yet are unable to use.
And the more individuality we have to sacrifice, compromise,
in order to interact fruitfully with others,
the duller the blade becomes.
Heartbreak on top of heartbreak,
and to not even fully know what
a heart breaking really means.
Is it nagging, never-ending, mental suffering, or loss,
like a vital part of your sense of self amputated,
like growing used to a stump,
after knowing the glorious crowned height
of a straight growing tree, or stupidity, ego,
stories and fantasies that get woven haphazard
together when the nights grow unexpected cold.
Did I make up this concept of brokenhearted?
Did I harbor an expectation of hope being repurposed into happiness?
Did I climb to full height on a ladder, because if so, I chose this.
And I am the source of this antagonistic sensation. Falling.
All the pulsating, stomach clamping, nauseating emotions.
Yet the crow caws through the stiff shoulders of thermals.
The littler ones whistle short and simpler.
The goddamned sun has not been shy in over a week.
Summer is slowly breaking open into autumn.
Cooler air has swept back and reclaimed the evenings.
Damp capes of ignorant dew decorate the tired realm of morning.
Paradise is in control. Conquered. All around me.
Yet within it, my delicate heart is straining. All but breaking.
Again. And the word and. Again.
And it hurts.
I don’t fully know what it means, just this feeling.
Which honestly, has me reeling.
Drawing being drawn back up
out of this beautiful, warm,
Where I doubt it would change anything,
to know what heartbreak really means.
Some friends say more with silence than ever using words.
More than can be told has been heard while mouths remain closed.
Phone laying dark and quiet. But the secret is newly out.
I can hear you when you’re silent.
Those two true blue eyes have learned to shout.
And right, I was right all along. You and I get along,
but we have a working friendship.
A functional kinship. You and I are at our best
when we do not rest but work, and work regular.
Committed less to one another,
than one another’s interests.
Once a remedy,
aid in the face of a struggle-based environment,
has moved away.
The landscape is differed. Changed.
Organizations of humans far off from kin offered to take the gap,
a cat hole formed at the base of the family tree, and fill it in.
When hardship was equal, beneath tiered economic heights,
rooms higher up stack heavy on molded basements,
before the promise of insured amnesty,
healthcare aimed like automatic weapons only at symptoms,
before upper, middle and sad desperate foundational,
before widespread acceptance of ambivalent modern calamity,
sisters, brothers, cousins, uncles, aunts, fathers, mothers,
grand and great and twice removed too,
friends scattered intermittently,
before government or society,
people turned to community.
In ever-changing environments that provided no immunity,
creatures of all kinds fell too hard into family.
You used that word. You posted as many pictures as you could.
You wrote impotent love songs and tricked innocent people to play along.
But worse. You used that word. Love.
And whether it came from your heart or rolled off your tongue,
I want to cut it out of you. I want it gone.
I never want to hear it used again.
And it might be sin. But it is also true.
I would take on hell to take on you.
I need the world to know who and what and how you are.
Though only you will ever know why. Well. You and I.
See I saw your sad, small-peckered heart.
I heard your flaccid, trickle-down art.
I played my part. Because I didn’t know.
I didn’t know you could caress a neck you also choke.
I didn’t see callused fingered fists leave dark blue weakness
swollen beneath her eyes. None of us wanted to realize.
Not even you. Not even you. Yet you used that word. Love.
And whether it came from your heart, or rolled off your tongue,
I want it gone. Whatever it was.
I need the whole world to know your definition of love.
And if I’m being true, I would like to take that definition,
and try it out on you.
I have never been good at goodbyes.
More often tears in my eyes goodbye.
Usually get high right after goodbye.
Better drunk, but seldom time to prepare enough.
Never had a honey I’m leaving you for good so get nice and lit kind of bye.
Left not high and throat dry at goodbyes, and I fix it for myself just after.
Admitted. I’m just not that sort of pastor.
To get bent or to mentor is a tough choice.
And when it comes to choices,
I’m never given a lot. Mostly only two.
Take it like a dog who has had the fight beaten out of it.
Take it quiet and easy,
or move, brood, wield attitude and argue.
And I have always taken the second.
The rotten decision. Like I want to use it all the way up before it spoils.
I always want to recycle something someone decided to throw away.
I have never been good at goodbye. Been a jerk, a monster, a child.
Never the good quiet-nature guy they wanted me to be.
I’ve said goodbye to many people and many things.
I can honestly say that until now I’ve never let any
off the hook easy as that phrase implies.
Besides, there isn’t really a good bye.
So much as a good time
to leave a mess
for someone else.